India Eases Visa Process for U.S. Visitors

The new Tourist Visa on Arrival program aims to make travel to India less burdensome By: Mindy Poder
Thanks to a new initiative, there are less steps to procure a visa to India. // © 2014 Thinkstock
Thanks to a new initiative, there are less steps to procure a visa to India. // © 2014 Thinkstock

The Details

India Tourist Visa on Arrival

In an attempt to make travel to India more accessible, tourists from 43 countries — including the U.S. — will be eligible to receive the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).

Why It Matters:
Anyone who has traveled to India knows that the struggle to procure a visitor’s visa is real. Even Kim Kardashian recently made news for canceling her upcoming trip to India due to visa issues. A reputation for a daunting visa application may have turned off prospective visitors to the country, but the Indian government is hoping that highlighting the new ease of traveling to the destination will boost tourism numbers. Travel agents would be wise to take advantage of the positive press by serving this news to their clients, along with bucket-list travel suggestions such as tiger safaris, the Taj Mahal and more.

Fast Facts:
- Though the procurement process is simpler, applicants still have to fill out an online application before departure at least four days before travel, and up to about 30 days in advance.

- After approval of the online application, the ETA will be sent to the applicant. The ETA must be presented to immigration officers in India.

- Nine airports are accepting the ETA: Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Trivandrum.

- A clear photo against a white background must be uploaded with the application.

- Forty three countries will be eligible for receiving the Tourist Visa on Arrival.

- The cost of the visa is $60 and can be paid with a credit or debit card. Payment must be received four days before travel.

- Travel must be for 30 days or less and travelers must have a return ticket or onward journey ticket.

- The visa will only be issued to travelers whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, etc.

What They Are Saying:
“The launch of the TVOA enabled with ETA scheme was a dream [come] true for the entire Tourism Industry of India and is bound to positively impact the economy of the country,” said Dr. Mahesh Sharma, the minister of state (independent charge) tourism and culture and minister of state for civil aviation. “The government’s objective is to boost tourism to our country, and the implementation of the TVOA enabled with ETA scheme will send out a clear message that India is serious in making travel to the country easy.”